OLATHE, Kan. — Boy Scouts across America are honoring fallen heroes on Memorial Day. One Johnson County troop had a special guest at their ceremony.
A 94-year-old Marine came to the troop’s salute to soldiers. Both the leaders and the boys said his presence was amazing.
The sound of Taps came from the lawn of the Aldersgate United Methodist Church in Olathe on Monday afternoon.
For months Troop 315 had been apart because of COVID-19, but they came together on the somber holiday to honor fallen soldiers. Seventeen-year-old Sr. Patrol Leader Jordan Kinsey helped organize the event.
“It’s great because I’m able to do what scouting stands for somewhat: salute those that served us both past and present that help our country be able to be free,” Kinsey said.
A scout played Taps on the trumpet, while others saluted the flag and said the name of a fallen soldier.
“It’s about remembering those who’ve given the ultimate sacrifice for our country,” Scout Master Kevin Gibson said. “It’s just the right thing to do, and it’s the right thing to teach our scouts to salute those that have fallen and given our lives for our country.”
Gibson is a Marine who served his country in the ’90s as well.
Marine Richard J. Randolph was a lieutenant colonel and served in WWII, Vietnam and Korea. The 94-year-old has been scouting for more than 50 years.
When he was 16, many of his friends and his scout leader went to war. He took on the role himself at 16 until he enlisted. His sons were scouts, along with his two grandsons in Troop 315.
“I thoroughly believe that in the boy scouting gives all scouts something to be proud of,” Randolph said. “I think it’s well worth the trip out here.”
“We’re just grateful to be Americans and to have the chance to help in any way we can,” his daughter Mary Randolph-Gips said.
Kinsey said the name of James Doherty who died in 2002, the same year he was born. He’s grateful for the opportunity to show Randolph a new generation of scouts who honor the men and women who stood beside him.
“I find it amazing that he came out here,” Kinney said. “He’s done a great deal for this country, and I can’t thank him enough.”
Similar ceremonies took place across the nation. Gibson said he hopes all of them were as meaningful as this one.